As many South Africans get ready to splurge on Black Friday specials, consumers have been warned to be careful to not fall prey to online scams.
Black Friday, which officially kicks off tomorrow, is a huge global shopping event that’s renowned for its major deal and discounts on goods.
As a result, stores can become chaotic on Black Friday, which has made some consumers to opt for online shopping.
iTOO Special Risks’ Candice Toprek, however, warns against being rush to avoid disappointment and possibly a loss of money.
Speaking to YNews, the cyber security expert urged consumers to beware of fake websites that look identical to known brands. She says the swindlers are employing increasingly sophisticated methods to take full advantage of unsuspecting online shoppers.
Toprek says even though transacting via digital payment methods, cards, e-wallets or other electronic payment systems is safer because consumers do not need to carry around large amounts of cash, these payment systems can possibly bring other risks with them.
“Cyber security experts are already witnessing an increase in counterfeit e-commerce sites that pretend to be legitimate brands, with cyber security company Fortinet warning that big events like Black Friday are a perfect opportunity for cyber criminals to flood inboxes with ‘special offers’ that don’t exist, leading shoppers to fake websites where shoppers happily disclose their bank details or personal information.”
This year’s Black Friday event is expected to generate about R26 billion in sales, up from R19 billion in 2022.
“What shoppers need to keep in mind is that even when there is no direct financial gain for hackers, personal user account information contains a host of valuable data, which is highly valued on the underground market and will inevitably yield a financial reward,” warns Toprek.
Below are tips Toprek has given for online shoppers in order to stay safe during the Black Friday weekend:
If consumers do happen to fall or know someone who has been a victim of these scams, they are urged to use the South African Fraud Prevention Services’ YIMA online platform to report the fraud.
Using the platform – you can also scan websites you find suspicious and secure your identity.
South Africans can also contact the South African Fraud Prevention Services’ scam hotline on 083 123 SCAM (7226).
Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris